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Wisconsin Congressmen Seek Simpler System to Help Stabilize Gas Prices

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April 06, 2005 | comments

Washington, DC – Wisconsin Congressmen Paul Ryan, Mark Green, Jim Sensenbrenner and Tom Petri, together with a group of House colleagues, have reintroduced legislation to continue their fight for a more streamlined fuel system to help prevent the gasoline price spikes that have plagued Wisconsin and other areas in recent years. This legislation – H.R. 1493 – would prevent the creation of even more “boutique” – or highly specialized – fuels and set the stage for a needed simplification of America’s fuel supply system. The measure closely resembles legislation they proposed last autumn (H.R. 5165). 

Wisconsin drivers’ and businesses’ budgets have suffered in recent years from seasonal gas price increases and sudden price spikes due in part to the unique type of reformulated gasoline used in parts of the state and the inability to draw on gasoline from neighboring areas when supply disruptions occur. The proposed legislation would tackle the problem of tight gasoline supply due to certain areas’ required use of boutique fuels.

“Today’s gasoline system is fragmented and the problem is going to get worse if we do not bring common sense back to the laws that affect our nation’s gas supply. We can have both clean air and affordable gas, and a more streamlined system will help us get there,” Ryan said. 

“Folks here in Wisconsin are being forced to pay exorbitant prices at the pump, and they need relief,” Green said. “This is designed to help them get it. By limiting the number of boutique fuel blends we can help put the brakes on runaway gas prices.”

“Wisconsin has long been a leader in clean air efforts, but excessive regulations on the use of boutique fuels have created a constant cycle of unnecessary gasoline shortages that have driven our cost of gasoline to among the highest in the country. H.R. 1493 is consistent with Wisconsin's efforts on clean air while helping to bring our gasoline costs down,” Petri said. 

“It is evident that gas prices are elevated all across the nation,” said Sensenbrenner. “But when it costs my constituents $50.00 to fill up a tank of gas, you know things are getting out of hand. Our legislation will help provide much-needed relief to the people of Wisconsin, many of whom depend on their cars and trucks for their livelihood.”

The three main components of the proposal are the following:

  • The legislation would cap the number of boutique fuels that can be used in each of the five federally defined distribution regions to prevent further proliferation of boutique fuel “islands” (areas that rely on a specialized type of fuel used nowhere else in the region.)

  • It would codify the Environmental Protection Agency’s existing authority to waive fuel requirements for up to 20 days in the event of a severe supply disruption.

  • The bill also calls for a study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that makes recommendations to Congress on creating a federal fuels system that maintains high air quality standards, maximizes supply, improves fungibility and lowers overall prices. 

Contacts:
Kate Matus (Ryan) 202-226-7326
Luke Punzenberger (Green) 202-226-7385
Niel Wright (Petri) 202-225-2476

 

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